Wits' End Vineyard
Wits' End vineyard straddles the plain between the McLaren Vale and Willunga townships and sits next to Penny's Hill winery.
It is planted with Shiraz and Chardonnay grapes and has a winter flowing creek that over the millennia has deposited shale giving two distinct soil types.
On the southern side, the soil is a red Urrbrae loam scattered with flat-washed pebbles. This soil helps produce bright red fruit with dominant blackberry and raspberry flavours.
The northern side has the heavy black clay known as Gilgai, Bay of Biscay or Terra Noir and this soil gave rise to the vineyard's name.
In winter, the wet clay sticks to everyone and everything it touches, making the vineyard largely inaccessible and vineyard management challenging. It can drive you to your wits' end!
In summer, the clay dries and shrinks, forming large and deep cracks that allow organic matter and top soil to fall in, which gives rise to another name: 'self-mulching clay'. Fruit grown in this soil is dark purple with thick skins, leading to wines with liquorice characteristics and an aroma of violets.